Thursday, September 24, 2009

Final kettlebell workouts and checklist for the HKC

I've been tapering my training a bit so as to be as fresh as possible for the HKC workshop on Saturday. Yesterday I did half an hour or so of mostly swings, with some get-ups, windmills and goblet squats thrown in, plus some pushups and jumping jacks just to keep it moving. I was working out to an audio track I downloaded from a while back, but mostly I ignored the cues and just used it as a way to keep track of my time. The audio workout, incidentally, is called "Easy Kettlebell Workout" or something like that, but frankly that's a stupid name for it because "easy" makes it sound like something for beginners, and any workout that calls for 2 straight minutes of kettlebell swings, the first minute 2-handed and the second minute 1-handed, is NOT for beginners. Considering that most people swing at a cadence of 35-50 swings per minute, that works out to being a 70-100 rep set, and that kind of volume is just not appropriate for a newbie.

This morning I kept it brief: a descending ladder of swings and goblet squats, 10 of each going all the way down to 1 of each, with no pauses, no setting down the kettlebell, no passing Go and no collecting $200. It was way more unpleasant than it sounds.

Then I went flitting off to ballet class. We're starting to rehearse "Waltz of the Flowers" for this year's Nutcracker. We're at a level now where we can pretty much do the full San Francisco Ballet pre-Helgi Thomasson choreography. Not well, necessarily, but we can do it. It's sort of cool if you're into ballet history at all, because the SFB was the first company in the United States to do the Nutcracker, and the choreography we're learning dates back to that first performance.

What else? I've also been doing lots of yoga this week to open up my hips and calm me. It's working better for the former than the latter.

And I have been cutting up socks.

Huh? Here's the deal: we are required to show up at the HKC with some sort of hand protection, I guess on the theory that the extraordinary volume of work we will be doing over the course of the day is going to shred our hands. I've never ripped a callus on my right hand EVER, and I've only ripped them on my left hand after heavy snatch workouts. But I've also never worked with kettlebells for 9 hours in a single day. Therefore, I am bringing protection with me in the form of "sock sleeves" a la Tracy Rifkind. A sock sleeve is simply a two inch portion cut from the top of a medium-weight crew sock, that you wear over the palm of your hand to protect the calluses that form at the base of the fingers, the ones that are most prone to tearing. I'm honestly not sure how I feel about it; like other kinds of protection that come to mind it seems to deaden sensation more than I would like. But the alternative--being in too much pain from ripped calluses to perform adequately--is even less appealing, so I'm bringing the sleeves. And tape. And Cornhuskers lotion, decanted into airline-approved 3-ounce bottles.

The weather forecast for Saturday calls for clouds and a chance of showers, with a high temperature in the low 70s. This is good, since the training will be outside and I don't deal well with strong sunshine or very warm temperatures. Living where I do, I am just not used to them. I plan to dress for comfort, in an old pair of Nike pants that are neither too tight nor too baggy, and a Polarfleece zip-neck sweatshirt over a baby t and sports bra. Everything is close-fitting enough to allow the instructors to see what I'm doing--one of my own pet peeves as a trainer is when clients wear attire that's so baggy I can't tell whether their glutes are firing or not!--but not so close-fitting as to make me feel self-conscious. Oh, and I will be wearing my obnoxious pink Chucks, although I plan to take them off and go barefoot unless the field where we're training is too wet for that to be an option.

What else? Lots of sunscreen, of course. After my skin cancer scare last winter I am more paranoid about that than ever. No sunglasses because I need my regular glasses to see. A bath towel, presumably to be used for the towel swing corrective drill and God only knows what other nefarious purposes. NSAIDS. Water. Some envelopes of recovery drink--enough to meet my own needs and also some extra in case there's anyone on my team who doesn't think to bring his or her own. I want to be successful myself, of course, but if I can help others succeed as well it'll be that much better an experience for me.

Above all I want to bring a good attitude and positive energy, because when you're working in a group it's important not to bring others down with a lot of whining and negativity. If at some point it becomes obvious that I'm in over my head I will be disappointed but I will deal with it gracefully and focus on making it a "failing forward" experience.

The world needs more good kettlebell instructors. I hope I have what it takes to be one of them, but if not it's better to find that out now so I can regroup and form a better plan of action that will allow me to succeed in the future.